The Writer's Store sent this very handy 365-day calendar to the subscribers of their mailing list. Most of these subscribers are, of course, writers - but you don't have to write (or even know how to spell) to utilize the "Don't Break The Chain" calendar. The 365 numbered boxes are small enough to fit on one page. But how do you use it? What is the philosophy behind it? Jerry Seinfeld knows! In a nutshell, it's a year-at-a-glance reminder that can be used to track any goal that needs to occur on a consistent basis. Here's the abridged original email. GTO
"This year, I'm gonna write more."
It's a popular resolution amongst our crowd. A great goal, but vague.
Maybe some of us promised to write every day. (That's better.)
But just like hitting a plateau at the gym, we sometimes lose the steam that once powered a new and exciting story idea. We take one day off, which turns into two days off; eventually, we find ourselves opening up a document only to realize it hasn't been touched in two weeks – or more.
Let's say you do write most of the time, but you take one or two days off each week for any number of reasons. That's still a lot of writing. But consider this: at the end of the year, that's roughly 10 weeks, or 2.5 months' worth of days that you didn't write anything.
That's where Jerry Seinfeld's productivity tip "Don't Break the Chain" comes in.
Years ago, when software developer Brad Isaac was performing stand-up at open mic nights, he received his best advice ever from the already-famous comedian.
Seinfeld explained his method for success: each January, he hangs a large year-at-a-glance calendar on his wall and, for every day he wrote new material, he had the exquisite pleasure that can only come from drawing a big red X over that day.
Drawing those Xs got to be pretty fun and rewarding, so he kept doing it. Eventually, he began to create a chain of red Xs. The idea was to never break that chain.
Not only does this approach program the body and mind to sit down and write daily – it also motivates you to continue that beautiful string of big, red Xs. If you don't write one day, you don't get to draw the X.
It doesn't particularly matter what you [do]. It can be anything, as long as you're actively and routinely pushing yourself.
[What are your goals? What can you accomplish - on a consistent basis - that would make you feel better about yourself or your life?]
Who is going to push you? For many, it's going to come down to self-determination. Your partner or parents or kids can encourage you too. Let them know about the calendar. After you prove you can keep the chain connected for a couple of weeks, they too will motivate you not to miss a single day. [I love the support that can come from our friends & family.]